Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2011-12 to 2012-01

did you know that the words {gah, gawd, golly, gee}, are all euphemisms derived from {god, jesus}?

Chinese; Computer Programer Humor: Data Center Exploded

English Translation:

last night i had a dream: got a emergency message, many servers are overloaded, but i don't have a terminal at hand, and all other sys admins are vacationing in countryside, then, the data center went up in flames and exploded …

Following is for those interested in Chinese.

@Jasey_Wang tweets:

昨晚做梦,梦到收到了紧急报警短信,好多台服务器的 load 全部飙起来,但是身边没电脑,公司的人全部在山村休假,然后整个 IDC 起火炸掉了。。。

TranslateWiktionaryhistory

Thanks to Aenon SUN (孙锡麟) for help.

Idiom Etymology: Flogging a dead horse

Flogging a dead horse.

Flogging a dead horse (alternatively beating a dead horse in some parts of the Anglophone world) is an idiom that means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile; or that to continue in any endeavour (physical, mental, etc.) is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided.

The first recorded use of the expression with its modern meaning is by British politician and orator John Bright, referring to the Reform Act of 1867, which called for more democratic representation in Parliament, an issue about which Parliament was singularly apathetic. Trying to rouse Parliament from its apathy on the issue, he said in a speech, would be like trying to flog a dead horse to make it pull a load. The Oxford English Dictionary cites The Globe, 1872, as the earliest verifiable use of flogging a dead horse, where someone is said to have “rehearsed that […] lively operation known as flogging a dead horse”.[1]

A similar expression is “To slay the slain”. Here's a poem:

To twice slay the slain,
By dint of the Brain,
Is but labour in vain,
Unproductive of gain,
And so I shall bid you “Adieu”!
Thomas Henry Huxley, “Monkeyana” from Punch (magazine), May 1861

Note: Thomas Huxley coined the term ‘agnostic’.

Just created a Google+ page and Twitter for this blog.

Follow me there. Thank you!

sustenance

English Humor: Doxies for Sell

this happened yesterday.

i saw this retweet from @aigeanta (+Suzanne Aldrich):

@TennesseeZombie Terry Lane
A bonded pair of female dachshunds are at Unicoi County Animal Shelter. If someone in TN loves doxies, two pets are waiting.

then i replied:

@aigeanta “A bonded pair of female dachshunds” for a moment i read “pair of blonde female… as pets…”. ☺

then she said:

@xah_lee heh. you're reading what you want to see.

LOL. But actually, i can't help it. It says “doxies”, which is a slang for mistress or slut. Actually, i just looked up dictionaries, i don't see any definition for that word to be related to dog?

Apparently, “doxie” is a nick for Dachshund, a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed, aka sausage dog, but so far i haven't seen it in any standard dictionary. Not in American Heritage, not in 1913 Webster, not in Merriam-Webster.

g+

Today's #Wordy #English: “we have gone to hell in a handbag.

as in «When we started here, we were easily drawn to each other, or repelled by each other, quite effortlessly and instantaneously. Those days are gone. In fact, I am starting to rethink the people I did not initially embrace. Because we have already gone to hell in a handbag

from a post by @miriam dunn

The phrase means “a situation headed for disaster without effort or in great haste.” (from Wikipedia To hell in a handbasket)

LOL. Wikipedia's intro section on Voting system is going berserk with lingoes. Witness:

A voting system or electoral system is a method by which voters make a choice between options, often in an election or on a policy referendum.

A voting system contains rules for valid voting, and how votes are counted and aggregated to yield a final result. Since voting involves counting, it is algorithmic in nature, and, since it involves polling the sentiments of a person, this represents affective data. Together, with the exception of proxy voting, this corresponds to in-degree centrality in graph theory and social network analysis, with votes as directed edges, and voters and candidates as nodes. Common voting systems are majority rule, proportional representation or plurality voting with a number of variations and methods such as first-past-the-post or preferential voting. The study of formally defined voting systems is called voting theory, a subfield of political science, economics, or mathematics.

now, i doubt most college students will understand this intro section fully.

Well, it'll take some 30 min to sort all this out, but you can first quickly check out the etymology of: berserk — A raging bear-skin wearing warrior!

“My French Canadian accent!” (dabackstreetgirl 2011-08-17)

French English Accent

Remember, you don't know the word unless: when you see a word, without any context, you can give its definition that roughly matches a dictionary's.

You should have a online dictionary extension installed in browser, so that clicking the word should show its definition. See: Online English Dictionary Tools.

If you like this project, please tell your friends!

You can also get all 5 thousand words with usage examples for just $6. See: Wordy English — the Making of Belles-Lettres.

Thank you for reading! Xah Lee.

人興则张,人寒则闭。

English: when prosperous, you celebrate and make noises. When not doing well, you keep to yourself.

TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory

The History of English in 10 Minutes, Chapter 2: The Norman Conquest, annotated, at The History of English in 10 Minutes

The History of English in 10 Minutes, Annotated

In the following days, each day i'll annotate a chapter of a education video called The History of English in 10 Minutes. Each video is about 1 minute, but are packed with info.

Do you know exactly where Anglo or Saxo were? Do you know what are the gods referred to in the names of weekday? How about the connection of martyr and scope? See the first installment: The History of English in 10 Minutes.

Do you know all the following words?

Deference soliciting disinterest meekness colloquial rub supplication fret diffidently stratagem proffering beseechment vexation coitus deciphered asserted pitch wreck perennial immemorial fixation infatuation explicable edict exigent show stopper

If not, you failed the courtship test. Read: ABBA - Take a Chance on Me; Human Courtship Analized by Alien.

English: Etymology of Blasphemy

Today's wordy english: lackadaisical.

See this song to learn the word: Anya Marina - All the Same to Me

Just learned that the Spanish word for Deep Throat is Garganta Profunda!

It's like, profound! Gargantuan Profundity!

It tells us, that the etymology of profound must have something to do with deep. And, of course, gargantuan means big, huge, but does it have anything to do with throat?

Today's wordy english: English Vocabulary: Animalistic Cries (Onomatopoeia).

English: the Etymology of Blurb